Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

HRSA Launches New Educational Materials on Living Organ Donation

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Health Systems Bureau (HSB) developed a set of English and Spanish language materials on living organ donation. It includes web content, donor and recipient fact sheets, videos, and an infographic.

We designed these materials to raise awareness. They describe the benefits, risks, and considerations that come with living organ donation.

Organ donation professionals, people working in public outreach, and people interested in living donation can use these materials to learn more and educate others.

What is living donation?

A living donation takes place when a person who is alive donates part of their liver,  kidney, or certain other organs and tissues. Doctors transplant their organ into someone who needs it.

Is living donation safe?

Living donation is typically safe for the donor. A donor’s hospital stay is between two and five days after donation. They resume normal activities within a few weeks. Most living donors go on to live active, healthy lives and can see the positive impact of their donation.

Why is living donation important?

About 6,500 living donation transplants take place each year, but more than 100,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant. More than 95% of people on the National Transplant Waiting List need a kidney or part of a liver. These are organs living people can donate. Unlike deceased organ donors, living organ donors can choose who to donate their organs to. This shortens recipients’ wait time for a transplant.

How can I learn more and help others?

Download and share these living organ donation outreach materials today.

What does HSB do?

HSB manages the nation’s Organ Donation and Transplantation program. This program works to extend and enhance the lives of people with end-stage organ failure.  An organ transplant is the most appropriate treatment for these people.

CMS Launching Population Health-focused Payment Model for States, Hospitals

From Becker’s Healthcare

CMS is launching a new population health-focused payment model aimed at addressing chronic disease, behavioral health and overall improvement of care management for states’ populations.

The agency said in a September 5 news release that it would award as many as eight states up to $12 million each to implement the States Advancing All-Payer Health Equity Approaches and Development Model, which is the next iteration of the CMS Innovation Center’s multipayer total cost of care models.

States participating in the AHEAD model will be accountable for quality and population health outcomes, along with reducing avoidable spending. Participants will partner with providers and leverage existing relationships to recruit hospitals — participating hospitals will receive an annual fixed payment.

Payments would be for Medicare and Medicaid, and other insurers could also pay participating hospitals for enrolled populations or specific patient groups.

Interested states can apply during two application periods and can participate in one of three groups with staggered start dates and performance years. Specific funding and application information will be released in late fall. States will have 90 calendar days to apply during the first application period. The second application period is expected to open in the spring with a 60-day application period.

Pre-implementation for the first cohort is scheduled for summer 2024. The performance period is scheduled for January 2026 or January 2027, depending on the cohort, and the model will conclude for all participants in December 2034.

More information is available here.

WellSpan Health First in Pennsylvania to Earn Health Equity Accreditation

WellSpan Health has received accreditation for addressing health equity by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).  WellSpan is the first in the state and one of three nationally to receive the Health Equity Accreditation.  NCQA awards accreditation to organizations that are leaders in addressing health equity, analyzing clinical performance and consumer experience through a comprehensive framework, according to WellSpan. 

HRSA Invests More Than $80 Million to Help Rural Communities Respond to Fentanyl and Other Opioid Overdose Risks

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced more than $80 million in awards to rural communities in 39 states to support key strategies to respond to the overdose risk from fentanyl and other opioids. These awards help advance President Biden’s commitment to beat the opioid epidemic as part of his Unity Agenda for the nation.

HRSA funding will support interventions such as distributing the lifesaving overdose reversal drug naloxone to prevent overdose; creating and expanding treatment sites in rural areas to provide medications to treat opioid use disorder; expanding access to behavioral health care for young people in rural communities; and, caring for infants in rural areas who are at-risk for opioid exposure or experiencing symptoms related to opioid exposure.

“Far too many rural families have faced the devastation of overdose, and these deaths are felt deeply across rural communities – where often everyone knows someone lost too soon,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “At the Health Resources and Services Administration, we know that funding based on population size or other broad-based rubrics can miss the vital treatment and response needs of rural communities. That’s why the investments we are announcing today are targeted to rural communities and tailored to the unique challenges of helping rural health care leaders expand access to treatment and build recovery pathways to prevent overdose.”

More than 100,000 people die each year from overdose. Individuals who call rural communities home and who are experiencing opioid use disorder – including from fentanyl, heroin or other opioids – can face challenges in accessing treatment and recovery services. Geographic isolation and transportation barriers can make finding treatment particularly challenging and limited mental health and substance use disorder health care providers in the community can further complicate access. The stigmatization of substance use disorder and its treatments are additional barriers to access. HRSA’s funding is targeted to helping communities address these critical needs and expand access to services.

The announcement includes the following investments:

  • Expanding Access to Medication to Treat Opioid Use Disorder: $24 million will support 26 awards to rural communities to establish treatment sites for individuals to access medications to treat opioid use disorder. The use of medication to manage opioid use disorder is the standard of care, but not always readily available.
  • Supporting Rural Communities in Preventing and Responding to Overdoses: $14 million will support 47 awards to help rural communities respond to their specific and immediate needs, including the distribution of life-saving opioid overdose reversal medications.
  • Meeting the Behavioral Health Needs of Young People: Nearly $9 million will support 9 awards to focus on building, strengthening and expanding mental health and substance use disorder services for young people in rural communities to expand treatment and help prevent overdose.
  • Preventing and Addressing Neonatal Exposure: Nearly $20 million will support 41 awards to develop and implement interventions in rural communities to prevent, treat and care for opioid exposed infants by focusing on systems of care, family supports, and social determinants of health.
  • Investing in and Disseminating Best Practices: $10 million will support three Rural Centers of Excellence on Substance Use Disorders to disseminate treatment and prevention best practices to help inform rural communities’ response strategies, and $5 million will support evaluation of this overall initiative.

To view the full list of awardees, see

To learn more about the RCORP program, visit the RCORP Webpage.

Additional resources

See other HRSA news & announcements.

Medicaid and CHIP: Help Keep Children and Families Covered

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is asking for help to prevent children and families from losing Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage as a result of the end of the Federal Public Health Emergency.

Ways Your Organization Can Help 

  • Partner with your State Medicaid agency to spread the word about renewals. You can find contact information on your State Medicaid agencies here.
  • Use CMS’s Communications Toolkit, available in multiple languages, including English and Spanish.
  • Promote social media content and graphics pulled from CMS’s toolkit on your social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Share HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra’s video (in English and Spanish) on Medicaid renewals across your social media channels.

Visit CMS’s website for more resources.

Notice of Changes to Eligible Area Maps for USDA Rural Development Housing Programs

USDA Rural Development has completed its 2020 decennial United States census review for all areas under its jurisdiction to identify areas that no longer qualify as rural for USDA Rural Housing programs.  Based on the review of the areas within the state of Pennsylvania, using 2020 US census data, and rural area guidance located in Handbook HB-1-3550, Chapter 5, the rural eligibility designation has changed for the following areas:

Areas whose rural eligibility designations is changing from ineligible to eligible (these areas now qualify as rural for USDA Housing Programs):

  • Williamsport, Lycoming County, – Minor line adjustments in the area above Grampian Hills to make this area eligible.

Areas whose rural eligibility designations is changing from eligible to ineligible (these areas no longer qualify as rural for USDA Housing Programs):

  • Bethlehem, Northampton and Leigh Counties – Expansion of the ineligible areas around the Allentown City limits to include all annexed areas since 1990 with a population of over 35,000.
  • Weigelstown, York County, –Expansion of the ineligible areas around the city limits to include all annexed areas since 1990
  • Franklin Park, Allegheny County Expansion of the ineligible areas around the Pittsburgh City limits to include all annexed areas since 1990
  • Monroeville, Allegheny County Expansion of the ineligible areas around the Pittsburg City limits to include all annexed areas since 1990

Changes become effective October 1, 2023. 

The updated rural area map can now be viewed on our eligibility websiteUsers will need to click on the program, for example: “Single Family Housing Direct”, and then click on “Proposed Eligibility Areas” from the menu options.

For a full list of changes, additional details, or questions about specific changes, please contact the Harrisburg State Office, Rural Development Housing Program Staff at 717-237-2186.